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BDF, 'Romeo and Juliet' feud ends

MPHO MOKWAPE
Uariua and Tlhapisang
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and their own star-crossed lovers who were dismissed for fraternising in the workplace have finally settled their longstanding dispute.

The two parties were back in court on Wednesday at the instigation of the BDF who had appealed the judgement that forced the reinstatement of the pair and the contempt of court judgement decided to settle the matter once and for all.

BDF’s own Romeo and Juliet, Thabang Tlhapisang and her lover Kozondu Cisquo Uariua, have never been at peace and have been at loggerheads with their boss and BDF Commander following their dismissal for allegedly contravening the military’s Policy on Fraternisation and Sexual Harassment.

Now the dispute has finally been put to rest before the Court of Appeal (CoA) as lawyers for both parties told the bench that they have decided to settle the matter for the sake of peace and progress.

State attorney, Tshepo Kgaswanyane said they have reached an agreement with the parties not to pursue the matter any further as the couple’s lawyer also agreed to abandon the contempt of court judgement that was issued against the Commander in 2016.

“The parties have settled and each will pay their own costs,” he said.

The matter boiled from 2016 when Justice Zein Kebonang ruled in favour of the lovers for them to be reinstated into their position following their dismissal.

Kebonang had ordered the immediate reinstatement of the lovers who were dismissed for allegedly contravening the military’s policy two years ago.

Then there was drama when the Commander almost got imprisoned

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for failing to reinstate the couple following the judgement of reinstatement.

Now the abandoned appeal at the CoA came after the drama when the Commander said he was never accorded a chance when he was served with contempt. His contention was that he wanted the judgement stayed as he was still going to lodge an appeal.

On his grounds of appeal, as he wanted to fight his contempt, he said the judge failed to give him a hearing without any justifiable cause.

He explained that the application for contempt was served to him on the same day he was threatened with imprisonment and that the Attorney General was also accordingly not given notice of the application for contempt.

The matter was settled and the dispute put to rest as the lovers’ attorney Othusitse Mbeha also did not file any opposing paper to the BDF’s appeal.

Mmegi interviewed Mbeha on the sidelines, who said they decided not to oppose the appeal and agreed to settle since there was no harm done.

“This is the final time we are appearing in court. The matter has been completely put to rest. The parties agreed to end this for the sake of progress.

The contempt of court judgement is abandoned because the Commander acted accordingly after it was issued. So no harm was done. That is why there is no need to fight,” he said.



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